Ninth-inning runs burn Wilson, Giants
Stolen base looms large as closer gives up three
SAN FRANCISCO -- Brian Wilson typically owns the ninth inning. Thursday night, however, the New York Mets literally stole it from him.The Mets accumulated three stolen bases off Wilson in the ninth, helping them score three runs that generated their 7-4 victory over the Giants. The true impact of the Giants' defeat won't be known until Friday, when shortstop Edgar Renteria's injured right hamstring is evaluated. Renteria drove in the tying run with an eighth-inning single but hurt himself as he crossed first base and had to leave the game.
"He's pretty sore," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Renteria. For now, utility man Juan Uribe will replace Renteria at shortstop.Uribe's single drove in the other run in San Francisco's two-run eighth, which made the score 4-4 and conjured the possibility of an inspiring finish for the Giants. But Wilson, who typically participates in such stirring conclusions as the team's closer, endured an uncharacteristic lapse -- which might have been avoided had the Giants been luckier. Carlos Beltran doubled with one out in the ninth and, with Gary Sheffield at bat, bolted for third base. Catcher Bengie Molina's throw appeared to beat Beltran, but umpire Brian Knight made the "safe" call. Television replays were inconclusive. "They got the call. It's hard to tell," Bochy conceded. "If the guy's out, it's a completely different inning," said Wilson (2-1). "But it wasn't, so ..." So Sheffield, who singled to drive in a first-inning run and doubled and scored in the third, drew a walk. Up came David Wright, whose opposite-field single to right scored Beltran with the tiebreaking run. Sheffield and Wright, who stole a career-high four bases, executed a double-steal to set up Ramon Castro's two-out, two-run single on another opposite-field hit to right. Wilson believed that he had decent stuff, but acknowledged, "I might have been pounding the zone a little too much. They got good contact on the ball to the opposite field. I can't do anything about that." The eighth-inning thefts weren't the only ones that aided New York. Alex Cora's first-inning stolen base helped the Mets open the scoring against Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez. New York's team-record total of seven stolen bases matched the second-highest figure recorded against the Giants since the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1958. Entering the game, Giants catchers had thrown out eight runners attempting to steal, tied for third-most in the National League. Bochy attributed New York's running to his pitchers' inefficiency at holding runners on base.
"Sanchie has to get better at that," Bochy said. "[With] Wilson, we know the situation but he didn't do a good job, either."Sanchez had an intriguing explanation for his deficiency in this phase of the game.
"I never had time to work on it in the Minors," he said. "I just have to work on it."Asked for his philosophy of holding runners, a fundamental some relief aces ignore, Wilson said, "I don't have a philosophy. I just mix up the looks once in a while. I felt I had done a good job in the past. But the past doesn't matter." Otherwise, the Giants delivered a mildly encouraging performance. Sanchez, who had lost his previous two starts, allowed four runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings but maintained the concentration that had fluctuated in other appearances.
"I thought it was a much-improved outing for him," Bochy said.Right-hander Justin Miller, who has limited left-handed batters to a .130 average (3-for-23), retired the switch-hitting Beltran to leave the bases loaded in the sixth. Brandon Medders added two shutout innings. Their efforts complemented San Francisco's eighth-inning comeback, which reflected admirable pluck from a team that's 2-14 when trailing after seven innings. "We played hard," Renteria said. "That's the way we have to play every day."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.